ANA returns to Sydney with the Star Wars 787-9
All Nippon Airways (ANA) has returned to Sydney after a 16-year hiatus, operating their Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners from Tokyoâ€™s Haneda Airport. A stand-out from any other inaugural flight, the ANA Star Wars jet made its debut appearance in Australiaâ€™s largest city to celebrate this special event, as well as the upcoming film. As an avid Star Wars fan, I was compelled to be present for the arrival of this work of art.
As exciting as the prospect of ANA returning to Sydney was, the highlight for me was the aircraft tour shortly after arrival.
The R2-D2-style seat covers are a cute addition to the aircraft
After a period of rushing around issuing visitor passes to the media crews, the bus had us out at the runway 15 minutes prior to the arrival of the Star Wars Dreamliner. I was also made aware that people had flocked to the airport to witness this spectacle, with all the usual aircraft spotting areas full. Spotting at Sydney Airport can be a challenge to even the most experienced AvGeek, with runway selections seeming arbitrary at times. Fortunately on this occasion, the plane landed on the runway we hoped for.
Emirates A380 Bar/Lounge – Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter
In part one of my review, I covered the standard features of the first class suite and product on-board the Emirates A380. In part two, I will cover the unique features of the Emirates A380 available to premium class passengers including theÂ Business Class bar/lounge.
For first and business class passengers, the bar at the rear of the main deck is the place to be and be seen on any A380 flight. It is truly a unique experience and comes complete with a dedicated bartender who will mix up your favorite drink.
WhilstÂ first class passengers get their own bar at the front of the cabin, it tends to be a bit lonely and there is no where to sit; thus, I recommend the business class bar at the back. While the business bar does not have the same high-end beverages as at the first class bar, the crew will happily bring these premium beverages to you when you are in the business bar.
While the first class bar has a wide range of premium beverages, it lacks the atmosphere of the business class bar – Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter
The bar is set up in a fashion akin to what I have seen on many private jets. There is the central bar with lounge seating on either side; this can accommodate up to five passengers on each lounge. In addition to the lounge seating, there is also ample space at the exits which have a standing bar arrangement with a table affixed to the exit which is quite handy when the lounge seating is occupied.
Emirates A380 short final at Sydney – Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter
EMIRATES AIRLINEÂ FIRST CLASS REVIEW BASICS:
Airline:Â Emirates Airline
Aircraft:Â Airbus A380-800
Departed:Â Sydney (SYD)
Arrived:Â Dubai (DXB)
Stops:Â Non-stop flight
Class:Â First Class
Length:Â About 14 hours
Not many people I know get too excited at the prospect of a 14-hour flight that leaves at 6:00 AM. Â But when travelling in first class, even the 4:00 AM wake-up call is cause for excitement. I was recently fortunate enough to experience the first class product on-board Emirates’ A380 from Sydney to Dubai.
Most Emirates’ departures from Australia to Dubai are timed to leave at night; this did not appeal very much to me as when traveling first class I like to make the most of the experience, rather than just sleep though it.Â Luckily, Emirates had recently introduced the A380 product on their EK415 service, which departs Sydney at 6:00 AM with a 1:20 PM arrival to Dubai. This service is primarily targeted at connecting traffic onto the afternoon European services, which allow for a same-day evening arrival into Europe.
Emirates A380 first class suite; not a bad place to spend 14 hours – Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter
I was happy to be staying at an airport hotel, meaning that I could afford to sleep in a little longer. Check-in at Sydney was completed with minimal fuss, and I was on my way to security within five minutes of entering the terminal.
Given the Qantas Emirates partnership, first class passengers traveling on Emirates flights have access to the Qantas First Class Lounge at Sydney. Sadly, the lounge was still closed at this hour of the morning. I had to make do with the Emirates lounge – while it is still of a very high standard, it is not as good as the Qantas’ first lounge.
On board, I was welcomed by the purser and escorted to my seat. As this was my first time flying Emirates First Class, I was given a very comprehensive walk-through of all of the seat and cabin features. At this time, I also received my bvlgari amenity kit along with pajamas and slippers; all of this was very nicely presented in an Emirates-branded tote bag. This is probably the best and highest quality of in-flight amenities I have received on any carrier.
My Ride to LAX – A Qantas A380 named after Sir Reginald Duigan – Photo: Mal Muir – AirlineReporter.com
THIS IS A CONTINUATION OF PART 1 OF FLYING IN QATAS FIRST CLASS ON AN AIRBUS A380…
After leaving the Qantas Lounge, I headed back downstairs into the terminal in Melbourne and boarded directly through the lower airbridge to the Airbus A380 heading to Los Angeles. It was hard for me to realize that this was really happening. Â 2.5 years of waiting and the moment was here; flying in first class on a Qantas A380.
I was greeted at door 2L and then turned left. Â Left into happiness, left into exclusivity, left into REAL First Class. Â Qantas has its First Class Suites on the lower deck of the A380 unlike Emirates, Lufthansa or Thai AirwaysÂ which all have them on the upper deck.
Flying Qantas First Class – Photo: Mal Muir | AirlineReporter.com
I was beginning my day off the way any premium cabin passenger should; spending time in the lounge prior to my flight. Â But thisÂ wasn’tÂ just any lounge and thisÂ wasn’tÂ just any flight. Â For two and a half years I had dreamed and worked towards this day.Â I had been earning Qantas points purely for this reason:Â First Class flight on a Qantas Airbus A380.
Arriving at Melbourne Airport I was dropped off in front of the dedicated First Class check-in area, which can be easily missed if youÂ don’tÂ know where to look. Â Thankfully my driver did know as the check in was hiding behind a line of trees. Â I was a little too early to check in for my flight, but was able to sit down in the lobby area (which looks almost identical to the First Class lounge).